I have been to NYC three times and all three times I made sure to visit Ground Zero, but this time it was completely different. It was no longer a construction zone like I had previously seen. Instead there was a beautiful memorial on eight acres of the World Trade Center complex with two HUGE reflecting pools set in the footprint of the Twin Towers. 2,983 victims' names are inscribed into bronze parapets surrounding the pools. It was hard to get a good picture because it's so spread out and there were tons of people and trees, so here are some I found online.
The 11,000 square-foot 9/11 Memorial Museum was built under the original World Trade Center site, going as far as 70 feet below ground. There are three main exhibits with other large scale artifacts scattered throughout the museum. The Foundation Hall is a massive room featuring a surviving slurry wall and the 36-foot tall last column that is still covered with mementos and memorial inscriptions. The Historical Exhibition presents the events of the day as they unfolded using timelines, maps, videos, articles, first-person testimonials and even voicemail messages. There are also galleries detailing what led up to the attacks and what happened in the days, weeks and years afterward. The Memorial Exhibition commemorates the lives lost during and after September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. There are nearly 3,000 portraits and you can use touchscreen tables to read obituaries and learn more about each person.
I'm not gonna lie, it was tough to go through. It was thoughtful and beautifully designed, but it's dark, huge, quiet and just so emotional. I didn't take very many pictures because in some areas it wasn't allowed and in others it sort of felt wrong to do so. I also didn't stop to examine every object or read every plaque because it could have put me in a deep depression.
The Slurry Wall and symbolic Last Column.
Salvaged tridents from the Twin Towers.
A section of steel facade from the North Tower.
Virgil quote made from remnant steel. The blue is to represent the sky that day.
The Survivors' Stairway served as an escape route from 5 World Trade Center.
The only window that remained intact from either building.
20 foot section of the 360-foot radio and cable antenna from the North Tower.
Ladder 3, crushed by the North Tower collapse. All eleven responders were killed on the 35th floor.
It's so heartbreaking, but a must-see if you visit New York.